Wednesday 18 October 2017 / 09:07 AM

A-LEAGUE SPLIT ROUND WRAP & FINALS FORECAST

The top two sides enjoyed victories in the games played over a split round of the A-League competition last weekend. Here’s our summary of the two matches and a look at where each team stands heading into the final month of the regular season.

Early goal sees Sydney home

A goal on eight minutes was all Sydney FC needed to beat Central Coast 1-0 on Friday, in a result which inches them to within one win of wrapping up the Premiers Plate (minor premiership). After some energetic play and classy passing, Michael Zullo fired in an accurate cross which Filip Holosko charged onto and volleyed into the net from six yards. The Sky Blue should have doubled their lead in the 75th minute when Bernie Ibini was taken down inside the box for a penalty, but the former Mariner had his penalty attempt saved by Ivan Necevski. The win was FC’s 17th in 23 games this season.

Ruthless Victory power past Glory

They went behind when the game was only five minutes old, but from that point on the Melbourne Victory were clinical in producing a 4-1 win over Perth. After Diego Castro struck early for the Glory, Melbourne scored two goals either side of half-time. Besart Berisha got on the end of a Marco Rojas free kick for the first, before Tunisian star Fahid Ben Khalfallah netted three minutes before the break. Both Rojas and James Troisi then scored via fine finishes to make it four. The win keeps Victory’s slim hopes of claiming the minor premiership alive.

Where each team sits heading into the final month

Every club in the competition remains mathematically in finals contention as it stands, with Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory the only sides assured of their spot in the top six.

Melbourne City (third on 33 points), Brisbane Roar (fourth on 33 points) and Perth Glory (fifth on 32 points) are in commanding positions, with a sizeable gap over the team currently on the fringe, sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers (25 points).

Brisbane have a favourable draw in that they play three of the A-League’s four lowest-ranked sides, while Perth’s is the toughest given they face the Roar, Victory and Sydney FC, with all three ahead of them on the ladder.

City take on two teams currently outside of the six, but face tough encounters against FC and Glory as well.

Wanderers come up against Wellington and Newcastle, where a pair of wins would go a long way to seeing them through to the finals, in addition to matches against both Melbourne sides and Adelaide.

In terms of teams currently outside the top six, the Wellington Phoenix are in the best position right now, seventh and just two points behind Wanderers, while Newcastle (22 points) and Central Coast (20 points) are within reach if they are good enough.

Wellington and Wanders meet this weekend in a crucial clash, before the Phoenix play Newcastle in what will likely be a make-or-break encounter. Wellington have the much harder draw, with their last three games against top-six sides, including meetings with top-of-the-table Sydney FC and second-placed Melbourne Victory.

Newcastle face Western Sydney, Central Coast and Sydney on the run home.

With only three wins so far in this campaign, Adelaide United sit at the bottom of the ladder and are 10 points off the play-off line. Three of their remaining four games are against teams currently inside the top six, leaving them with no realistic hope of playing past the regular season.

[YouTube – A-League TV]

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About the author

Corey Rosser

One of CBS’s newest contributors, Te Aroha product Corey is the New Zealand correspondent for NRL.com, the editor for the excellent new site Kiwi League Central, and a guru of the local Auckland rugby league scene.

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